The Effect of Gender and Age on the Dark Triad in Helping Professions – the Comparison with General Population

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Radka Čopková


Helping professions represent professions in our society, whose main aim is to help others. Less attention was paid to the fact that, like every person, a helping professional has, to some extent, maladaptive personality traits too. The aim of the present study was to explore three aversive personality traits - Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy on a sample of helping professionals. The study was conducted on a sample of 312 participants from different sectors of the helping professions - pedagogical workers, healthcare workers, rescue workers, social workers and general population. The Slovak version of Short Dark Triad - SD3 has been administered (Jones & Paulhus 2014; Čopková & Šafár, 2021). The main result showed that helping professionals scored significantly higher than general population in psychopathy. The testing of between-subject variability while controlling the effect of gender and age indicated that in psychopathy healthcare workers and rescue workers scored significantly higher than general population. We find it helpful to point out that even among helping professionals, who are usually expected to be selfless and prosocial, we can find individuals who are attracted by the other side of pursuing this type of profession - the power they have over the person they provide help to. Based on several limitations we consider this study as a pilot one that might focus the attention on this understudied topic.

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